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Business Thu Jul 24 2008

DIY Iced Coffee

In these lean times, I like to brew my own coffee at home to save some change. However, the process can be trickier in the summer when what I really want is iced coffee. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way:

First, the guys at Intelligentsia's Randolph Street location tell me that my brewing method is perfect: I just make a pot of coffee like I always do, nice and strong. They recommend avoiding darker roasts, which don't taste as good on ice.

Once the coffee is ready, I pour a big glass and stick it in the freezer. By the time I'm finished showering, the coffee isn't exactly cold, but it's not piping hot, either. I fill my thermos with ice cubes made from coffee leftover from the previous day, and then pour in my chilled coffee and a spot of half and half.

Lately, I've been sweetening the brew with a homemade almond simple syrup. I bring one-third of a cup of water and one-third of a cup of sugar to a boil, then let it simmer for just a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves completely. I take the pot off the heat and stir in a bit of almond flavoring to taste.

Incidentally, Intelligentsia's new summer drink, GG's Horchata -- rice milk, espresso, simple syrup and a dash of cinnamon -- is a refreshing change of pace on days when I don't feel like firing up my pot at home.

 

Bobbi B. / July 24, 2008 10:16 AM

Great post! I've been trying to make iced coffee at home, but I can't quite get it right.

AY / July 24, 2008 1:33 PM

I'm a frequent Intelligentsia customer, but I've got to disagree with them on this method--I think cold-brewed iced coffee is better. Try this recipe:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/276drex.html

Jen / July 24, 2008 1:33 PM

An way to do make iced coffee:

Mix 1.5 cups of cold water and 1/3 cup of ground coffee together and let sit at room temp for at least 8 hours. Then, strain the coffee to remove the grounds. (I make it in a French press, which makes it easy to strain, but you could also just pour it into a strainer lined with a coffee filter or paper towel.) Pour into a tall glass with ice, and add some cold water (as much as equal parts coffee and water, but you can you less water). Add milk and sugar as desired, and drink.

Making it the night before in the French press is easy, and uses no electricity (so it doesn't add heat to your already hot kitchen). I double the recipe so I have enough to last me 2 days.

audrey / July 24, 2008 2:31 PM

I've always made my own iced coffee by brewing a double-strength pot of fresh coffee. Just use twice the amount of grounds you would for a normal pot. Fill a glass full with ice and pour the coffee on hot. The ice will dilute the strength of the coffee as it melts.

twobitme / July 24, 2008 5:31 PM

I've hit the summer 2 PM humidity-fueled exhaustion, so this comes at a great time. Can't wait to check out both recipes.

shylo bisnett / July 25, 2008 8:20 AM

My formula is similar to the one AY pointed to in the NYT above. I take a pound of coffee, soak it overnight (for 24 hrs) in 11 quarts of water, strain it, and store it in the fridge. The resulting liquid is highly concentrated ice coffee that you add water to to taste, along with ice. You get about 10-14 days of iced coffee for whatever your lb. cost.

Matt B / July 25, 2008 10:18 AM

I've been doing it the way Audrey does, mostly because it's the exact same way my iced-tea maker works (which says it can also make iced coffee). I make a double-strength pot of coffee, then add any cream and sugar while it's hot. I then pour the coffee SLOWLY over an equal amount of ice. So if I made 2 cups (as in, 16 oz) of double-strength coffee, I pour it over 2 cups worth of ice. Serve in a chilled glass/thermos with ice. Anything leftover can be stored in the fridge for about a day or two. (Cream/sugar shortens lifespan.)

Illinois Master Gardener / July 28, 2008 8:08 AM

I make my iced coffee in the same way that the writer does. However, almond soy milk is my flavoring of choice!

DAC / August 1, 2008 8:50 AM

The folks at Intelligentsia definitely do the cold-brew. It makes a concentrate that is then mixed with filtered water. Not that your method is necessarily bad. In big batches, though (like they have to prepare at the stores), simply cooling down the hot-brewed coffee produces a less tasty beverage.

That said, at home, if I've left my french press out all day, I'll just pour the remainder over ice and enjoy.

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